Get access

Challenging the Leader or the Follower: Influence of Need for Emotion and Equality Violations on Emotional and Retributive Reactions in Social Dilemmas1


  • 1

    This work was supported by Grant #GOA/05/04 from the Research Fund of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Jeroen Stouten, Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. E-mail:


Research has shown that if equality is violated in public-good dilemmas, group members react with more anger if another group member (a follower), rather than if the leader violates equality. The present research argued that people's personality—particularly, need for emotion—moderates group members’ reactions if equality is violated by either the leader or a follower. Results revealed that group members low in need for emotion reacted with more anger and were more inclined to exclude the violator if this person was a follower, rather than the leader of the group. Group members high in need for emotion, however, reacted with more anger and wished to exclude the violator more if this person was the leader, rather than a follower.